https://www.duolingo.com/Muzorewi1984

I actually moved to France

So, I finally moved to Paris three weeks ago from London. I'm starting a job as a teacher in a couple of weeks (hopefully).

I was interested in how I'd do with my French after my time on here, on Memrise, my lessons in real life etc. Well, short answer is... a bit of a nightmare really.

First of all, a lot fewer people than I thought actually speak English here (or will admit to speaking it anyway) which means I have to speak to most people in French.

This includes my landlord and most of the people I have met in shops/businesses. I needed to get a French mobile phone, so I deliberately chose the biggest Orange shop I could find in central Paris. I asked the woman if I could get a representative who speaks English. She said fine. Then a guy beckons me over in French and starts doing his sales spiel very quickly in French. I say "can you speak English?" he replies slowly "my English is not good".

My experience at the bank was near identical. I was assured I would be given a meeting with someone who could speak English, but in the end the woman I was given's English was so poor I ended up doing the whole thing in French (incidentally if anyone has any advice on opening a French bank account please offer it. So far they have asked for my passport, then they asked for an electricity/gas bill, then they asked for an attestation d'hébergement, then they asked for a contrat de travail. I'm still waiting to hear back from them.)

Anyway, speaking French. Unfortunately, French in real life (as opposed to Duo) is very hard. In particular, people speak so quickly I generally cannot understand a word they say. I introduced myself (in French) at a job interview and the woman replied with a question, very quickly, in French. I didn't pick up on it and I had to say "sorry my French isn't very good" and she clarified, in English, "what is your name?". She'd asked me my name and I didn't even manage to register that.

In saying that, if people speak slowly and clearly to me, I can usually understand what they say, but I've had many an embarrassing moment in the street with people trying to communicate with me.

Anyway, morale of this story is make sure you are very prepared if you emigrate! You may be able to read and write French OK, but speaking with natives is a whole other matter.

September 5, 2014

72 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/centime

I envy you. Please keep us informed of your adventure.

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/wyeager84

I would give anything to be in your situation. I should have done this in my 20's before marriage and kids. I'm planning on doing this once we send both our kids off to college (which is 5 years away). I would love to be overwhelmed (easy for me to say - sitting here in this chair) and not have the option of using English. I've signed up for a week of immersion in France later this year - and through some Skype contacts - I hope to do more frequent ad-hoc immersions where I can go over to France and "hang out" with people - assuming I am not being trolled into coming over where I will be chopped into pieces and kept in a refrigerator hehe.

I think you'll look back in 6 - 12 months and cherish your experience.

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

As you may know, I am French. Just a little story for you. A few years ago, I had to go to Milan for a 3- day meeting. The chairman there was kind enough to lend me his EA to translate from Italian to English (big meeting, all Italians except for me). Early afternoon on the second day, I told my translator that I had understood what had been said. Then for the rest of that day and the next day, I could exchange fast and easily with my Italian colleagues, them in Italian, me in English. No need to say that I could not utter a single sentence in Italian (but many words that I mixed with English). So, the morale of my story is that diving into cold water may be petrifying at first, but then you have to swim to survive, and you do (swim and survive).

September 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Realejo

First of all-congratulations, moving to another country is a big step! And it can be quite discouraging at first.. I stayed in France for three months this summer, and I had to deal with the same problems, but try to see the positive side: Even if it might be a bit embarassing, you'll learn the language in no time. I sometimes wished there were more English-speaking people, but my knowledge of the language improved very rapidly. I don't know how it is like to live in Paris, a lot of French people say that they're quite grumpy and always busy, but don't let prejudices put you off: I was very pleasantly surprised by the French. I knew that they wouldn't be very friendly when I was staying in line and had to explain them what I wanted in my awkward French while others where waiting in line, but don't take it personally. Go to a place where people have time to talk to you- a language exchange café, for example. I met incredibly many nice people there who helped me a lot with my French and made a lot of friends. And it's true that there aren't many people who speak English, at first I thought that they might be too arrogant, but most of them are simply embarrased. It happened to me quite often that someone talked to me in the street and I didn't understand a word. I gave them a very confused look and an apologetic smile, and they asked me again, now slower, and asked me where I'm from, some tried to speak a few words in my native language, wished me a nice day etc. -or some just started talking to me to compliment me on little things, something I was not used to in my country. As the French say: On récolte ce qu'on a semé. So don't let the few impatient and busy people bring you down, try to keep a positive attitude, smile a lot and listen to everyone-especially to people who talk a lot. It doesn't matter whether it's interesting or not, but it helps you a lot until you feel confident enough to speak yourself. ;) Go to public places, join a sports club, listen to French music, watch the news, use your hands, legs and everything that works to communicate. You'll soon meet nice people who will help you and show you how nice the French are-and they will teach you a lot about their 'savoir vivre'. Bonne chance! :)

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/cjholloway

I TOTALLY understand what you are saying. MANY years ago, I studied French at L'Institut des Études Européennes (IES ) for 10 months and found that, in general, the French were VERY condescending of my early efforts to speak French but had no problem MURDERING ENGLISH.

I DID find that by constantly repeating, "Veuillez m'aider. Vous parlez trop vite. Je suis une étudiante et j'essaie d'apprendre le français." many of those with whom I spoke were more understanding and helpful.

One of IES' teachers made a WORLD of difference by relating that SHE had received pretty much the SAME treatment as a student in NEW YORK. She said that she listened to the radio, read the local newspapers voraciously and watched movies repeatedly until it all came together. I tried it and it was tedious, but it worked. Also, once you start making friends, things will REALLY improve. I worked out a deal in which I taught a French girl and her brother to speak English and they helped me immensely with my French. I KNEW I was on the right road when I started dreaming in French, my French family started complimenting me on my improvement, and many people did NOT believe that I was an American:--))

Bonne chance!!

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/John.Ru

awesome very encouraging

September 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/MiaDyl

I just read this in another discussion titled 'Why are written and spoken French so different': http://www.quora.com/Why-are-written-and-spoken-French-so-different/answer/Andrew-McKenzie-4 A quote from the link: "These differences are one reason why students of French have a hard time arriving in France--- if we're taught to read French, we learn a different grammar from the one we're hearing! And that's before you add slang and dialectal differences."

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Lyoug

Awesome link. Have a lingot!

September 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/MiaDyl

Thanks :) Before I saw that discussion, I had no clue written/spoken French were so different. Yikes!

September 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/panagiotis_ts

Congratulations for your decision to move to Paris!It takes courage to move to another country.Try to finish your French tree (if you haven't already done it) and then try to find a French course for immigrants.Some municipalities offer French courses for the nouveaux arrivants (newcomers).Try to watch TV and listen to the radio and try to repeat some things that they say.I wish you to become fluent soon!!!

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/jksung

Can I just reiterate that the local municipalities here in Paris offer French classes for foreigners. It's much cheaper than going to Alliance Francais. I too have just moved here and went into the local Mairie yesterday (look up the address of the Mairie for your arrondissement). They were very helpful (in English) and have given me the times for the grading session used to assign us to classes based on our skill level. See: http://www.paris.fr/english/guide-for-foreign-residents/the-necessary-steps-to-settling-in/learning-french/rub_8145_stand_33669_port_18796

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/panagiotis_ts

Oh,thanks for the links!My parents are thinking seriously of moving to France but their French are poor.Do you know if we can start a familly business in France?How much time it takes,how much money we must have,if it is better to work for s/body or to have owr own business,etc.

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Muzorewi1984

Ah! This is excellent, thanks. The only issue I can foresee is, if things go as planned, I should be working here pretty much full time, including some weekends and evenings, which might make fitting in language lessons a bit tricky.

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/georgeoftruth

Thanks for the tip. I envy you as well. Complete immersion can be very scary. I'm sure that after a while and with all the things you've been doing to improve your French comprehension, you will get used to being in Paris. Don't get discouraged.

I hope you keep us updated with your experiences, especially those of us who dream of doing what you're doing. Bonne chance!

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ali_marie_x

hey! I just arrived in Paris on Monday and I'm having the same problems!! If you want to meet up let me know :) we can tackle this crazy language together!!

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Muzorewi1984

If you like! I'm doing nothing this weekend except for paperwork. Lots of paperwork...

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ali_marie_x

I had a job interview today but im free tomorrow if you are too? Sunday in Paris is always nice :-D

September 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Muzorewi1984

Yep, doing nothing tomorrow. I predict things will become horrible for me from about Tuesday next week onwards.

Name a place and time I guess! I haven't actually seen any attractions in Paris yet, except for the Eiffel Tower. Again.

September 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/annika_a

Moving abroad, even if you are fluent in the local language, is always a bit scary. And if you're not, it can even be physically and mentally exhausting just from always having to listen and try to understand and look for words in your head, even in the most basic situation. If you moved out alone, try to find some friends quickly, as you will need both their support and (if they are French) their help in learning about your new surroundings and how things work.

I guess I am basically wishing you bonne chance and bon courage, it will probably be though at first but very much worth it!

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/maddyis7

Whilst your post might seem, at first, discouraging. I found it greatly ENCOURAGING.

To move to France is a big move. But I've heard all these people say that Full Immersion is the only way to learn, and then a few brave others say 'No It's Not!'

The latter point bears some truth. We have some first generation immigrants in Britain, who after 20 or 30 years, still can barely say a word of English, yet their children are fluent and usually completely bi-lingual. So immersion and 'necessity' don't necessarily work.

Like you, I'm quite good on the reading and writing; Even my pronunciation I know to be reasonable (Italian) BUT put me in a room of Italians, or with the TV and radio, I'm lucky if I can pick up a single word or phrase.

That is why I'm encouraged! You are more advanced in your target language, than I am in mine; So It teaches me, no matter how much I think I know, that I shouldn't be shocked when I hear 'what sounds like gobbledegook' coming into my ears. If you think the French speak quickly, then you should listen to the Italians. They go at it like a Bullet Train. LOL

But they are both wonderful languages and it's a privilege trying to learn them. :)

Bonne chance in your new job.

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/msfrenchie

Congratulations on your big move. If you're feeling discouraged, pick up some of Peter Mayle's books. He & his wife moved to Provence in the late 1980s from England and he writes about his experiences fitting into the French way of life. '

Be prepared, apparently the French are really into documentation. He said that no matter how many documents he took with him to get some piece of business or other done, there were always more needed. So, relax, try not to stress, it's the French way of doing things.

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/br13lle

Hi! My case is not quite like yours but actually this summer I took a summer language course in Paris just one year after I started learning French on Duolingo. The first week is very very very tough. You're way much better than me, because the only things I could say back then was "oui" and "non".

The only advice I can give is: Be bold! At first I paid a lot of attention to how people would think of me, when they saw me struggling with my French. So I decided to shut up. But that's not how you can better your speaking skills and definitely not a wise choice if you want to survive in this city. So I kept reminding myself: "Get rid of all those fear and embarrasment. Paris is a crowded city. It's okay to be an idiot for a while, people will forget you quickly." I must say I encountered countless troubles, just like you, but then I got more familiar with the city and the native speakers, and those troubles stopped happening.

I know that things you're facing now are going to irritate you a lot. But they will become great experiences and memories once you get over them. So, bon courage!

September 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/stormclouds101

You will get into the rythem eventually. ;)

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/hoodwinker

Don't waste time with Duolingo any longer. You need to improve your listening comprehension and speaking ability fast. Start using Michel Thomas, Pimsleur, and French in Action.

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Muzorewi1984

I've finished all Michel Thomas's tapes. They are very good and I recommend them. I think they've improved my speaking ability a fair amount, but my big weakness remains listening. I've been watching French TV a lot since I arrived here, sometimes with the help of the sous-titres and I still rarely have any idea what anyone is saying. I've been following the programmes at http://apprendre.tv5monde.com/ for a while now as well. They're good, but, again, without the transcript I can barely understand a word.

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/deniz456deniz

I was watching the French news with subtitles, so I know they broadcast on at least one station with subtitles for the hearing impaired. They aren't perfect, but neither are English ones.

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/prky
  • 2049

J'aime French in Action. Bonne chance! J'aime écouter la radio...

September 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/texascg

Hang in there. It will be ok. I've been here (in France) for three years. I make lots of mistakes when speaking and I use google translate when I receive notices in the mail. Smile and ask for help. It will be ok.

Orange is a whole other story. There is an English phone number, but it can't fix most of the problems and will forward you to the French service. I went through an 8 hour "French Lesson" when I had trouble with my Livebox (eventually it was fixed). The other nightmare is when you work online with Orange, you will have to go through this matching game to show you are a real person. So you have to look up things like teapot and elephant (which is fortunately a cognate) to even get into the system. I almost pulled out my hair one night when this happened.

My advice is to take formal French lessons and to stick with DuoLingo. I take a group lesson and a private lesson each week, watch French TV and speak French with my French friends. My private teacher is very strict on grammar, I was frustrated initially because I wanted to speak ---but as I've progressed I realize that the grammar base she laid is critical to really being able to communicate. It is hard work, but worth it. See if there is an ex-pat club and you will find people to help you.

I've found that there are more French English speakers than you think, they are often afraid to make mistakes. When they see me make all kinds of mistakes in French it makes them comfortable to speak with me in English. It has really been a lovely experience. They often tease me about my "mignon" accent. It has turned out great. Hang in there! Bon courage!

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/maddyis7

You'll have to both smile and growl at Luis for two things.

1 Smile - for giving us Duolingo.

2 Growl for giving us CAPTCHA - Teapot and elephant!

But without CAPTCHA there would have been no Duolingo :)

If you don't know why you might want to see his TED talk :)

September 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/texascg

What a great observation!

I found the Ted Talk, here it is for others: http://www.ted.com/talks/luis_von_ahn_massive_scale_online_collaboration?language=en#t-81203

The great thing about CAPTCHA was that even though I didn't know the words, I learned something: éléphant was easy, but théière kicked my butt because I didn't even realize that the picture was a teapot. As I was trying to figure out how to unlock my iPhone at 2AM, this was not a welcome lesson, but is now a lovely memory of how far I've come.

I'm a big fan of Luis, thanks for pointing it out! P.S. my private French teacher likes Duo so much she recommends it to everyone!

September 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Meg_in_Canada

I've been in Québec for over two years now (in a region known, even among the Québécois, to have a very strong regional accent), and I still quickly become lost, even though I've reached a point where I'm pretty handily working in a bilingual position. A smile and friendly demeanor go a long way when you're struggling.

When I first arrived, I didn't even have any basic French, and it was HARD. I cried a lot, often in my car alone in various parking lots. But it's starting to all come together.

Good luck with your challenges! Progress will be rocky, with many ups and downs, and "good French days" and bad. Just keep on talking, keep on listening, keep on asking people to slow down, and you'll be surprised what a difference 6 months makes.

September 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Tashi23

Thanks for confirming that speaking and understanding the language is more important than reading and writing it. It will motivate me to study and try to communicate in the language more often. I too want to eventually make the move to Paris. Right now i'm living vicariously through you so keep us updated. Congrats.

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/la_raconteuse

Cher/Chère Tashi23, I believe that fluency in speaking, reading and writing are all equally important if you want to master any language. Keep working on it all and eventually you'll make it some day!

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Tashi23

OK, thanks Doctor.

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/la_raconteuse

De rien. Vous savez que "Doctor Who" aide tout le monde. Bon courage!

September 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/harryclark17

You should start a blog about your french language experience in France! This is really cool.

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/E.T.s_Son

A video blog would be so cool.

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/la_raconteuse

I hope you keep us posted on your adventures! It's something I've always wanted to do!

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/hildaoquendo

Don't worry about it, it happens to a lot of us. I moved to China when I was 14 (and totally sure my English was great) and when I got there, I could barely understand anything (I went to an international school). Chinese was different, because I was learning right from the source, so I had already picked out the accents and speed and all that.

But don't stress, I assure you it will become increasingly easier to understand spoken french in a couple of months.

Keep us posted on your journey, sounds very exciting!

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/JeanPaul.Fr

About 20 years ago, I also found the French were reluctant to speak English, but in the past few years I have found that in quite a few places - Paris, Toulouse etc. - that when I start speaking in French ( in my impeccable English accent ! ) that they answer me in English.

September 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Muzorewi1984

Yes, I've had that too occasionally. I went to a takeaway pizza place in my first week. Chap at the counter said "bonsoir" I said "bonsoir un pizza margherita s'il vous plaît" and he replied straightaway, in English, "certainly sir, what size?". Then again, it was in quite a touristy area and I'm guessing they were probably used to Anglophone customers.

September 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Persikov

This is real. I haven't been to France but I think it's a great reality check for Duo's more hyperbolic cheerleaders. About six months ago I went to a French coffe hour and was mortified by my level.

The ability to hear speech more than one sentence at a time in a natural environment and the ability to produce creative, situation-specific speech is simply beyond Duo's capabilities. That's why I always tell students here that have only studied English in Duo (true beginners) that no matter how much of the tree they have completed, they should start at the first level of their university course. However, if you combine Duo with regular, extended, face-to-face or skype communication, things could be different.

Bonne chance en France!

September 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/iwasrobbed

I moved to Montréal almost two years ago now so I can relate! However, I've come to appreciate French from France since Parisians are much easier to understand than the Quebecois :) I can very easily discern which is which on the street and I've come to really appreciate listening to French rather than Canadian French since the words are so much clearer and more slowly spoken.

Hang in there, it gets much easier with time, but it is very important to not switch to your safety net of speaking English because speaking is very different than reading or writing. Trust yourself. People will be able to understand you. One time when I first starting learning French, I had an hour long negotiation with my landlord in French to get my rent lowered. Although we had to switch back and forth between French and English at times of sheer confusion, he understood and I succeeded :) All it took was a little courage.

September 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Meg_in_Canada

It's funny. It's all what you're used to, I guess. I moved to Québec and I found Francophones from France much harder to understand until I gained a little more exposure to European French. I learned my French here and am much more familiar with the québécois accent.

September 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/la_raconteuse

I grew up in Canada and was taught basic french in gradeschool. Years later I took two beginner courses at Alliance Française. Since then I've been venturing to Montréal, QC. During my visits I definitely noticed a distinct difference to how the language is pronounced. Since I considered myself a "beginner" back then(and currently still do), I wasn't sure what to make of what was being said or if I was even pronouncing the words right myself. Thanks to you both for confirming this!

Also, what a great thread this has turned into. So many encouraging stories!

September 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/deniz456deniz

Out of curiosity, how did the woman ask for your name in French? Is there a slang for that too? Has anyone tried Fluenz? I keep getting pop-up ads for Fluenz everywhere. Rosetta Stone has a good program, but I used it when their online coaches were free (part of the discounted rate). I received about 30 free lessons, which was an amazing deal.

I visited relatives in a foreign country and knew five words before I went. I know it is hard to live in a place where you have no idea what they are saying around you. At least they are willing to speak a few words of English to you. In my relatives' country most businesses would just look at you if you spoke English. Right now, I can watch the French news if they show it with subtitles, which means I am as good as a hearing-impaired person, a French one that is.

If possible, I would take lessons in the field you will be teaching. If you are in business then I would take a business French course etc. When I visited Paris on my guided tour, I met several English-speaking persons. The only French I met were the waiters at the restaurant and the tour guide. Of all the cities in Europe I visited, it seemed to be the most multi-cultural. (The subway was very very clean.) That should work in your favor.

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Muzorewi1984

I really don't know what she said. I think I said something like "bonjour j'ai un entretien à 11H..." or whatever, and she went into a very quick spiel that must have ended with her asking my name. I mean I'm familiar with the apparently common expressions such as "comment vous appelez-vous?" but, really, I didn't catch a word of what she said!

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Lyoug

(native here) A couple of ways she might have worded her question:

« Vous vous appelez comment ? », pronounced 'vous app'lez comment ? (the first vous almost completely disappears when talking fast)

« C'est quoi votre nom ? », pronounced c'(est) quoi vot' nom ?

« Votre nom, c'est ? », pronounced vot' nom c'est ?

In a more friendly context, a typical informal way of asking for someone's name would be « Toi, c'est comment ? », or even « Et toi, c'est ? » if you were just asked your name. But the simple « Comment tu t'appelles ? » sounds perfect too.

However you'll probably never hear anyone actually saying « Comment vous appelez-vous ? », which has me picturing good fellows in tailcoats and monocles and top hat tipping (I'm exaggerating but it does slightly head in that direction).

September 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/deniz456deniz

Hmmm,,, well then I would try to tune in to the French news. http://www.francetvinfo.fr/replay-jt/france-2/20-heures/jt-de-20h-du-samedi-6-septembre-2014_681697.html

Click on sous-titres.

And try to make French neighbor friends. Maybe invite them over once a week for dinner.

September 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Archaeopterix

I've used Fluenz, both before and during an extended trip to Liege, Belgium. I liked it, each lesson is presented first from a coach, then there are some matching and finish the sentence kind of exercises to help lock in what you've learned. It is very focused on conversations and starts out with a strong empasis on the kind of exchanges you would need while traveling: ordering in a cafe, giving directions to a cab driver and things like that. I found it very helpful for listening comprehension.

September 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Mr..Johnson

I found your post hilarious (probably less so if you're living this experience though ☹), because it reminds me of a weekly column published a few years back in our local paper. A local reporter from our hometown moved to rural France for a year to try to immerse himself (and his wife and young kids) in French with a view to becoming bilingual. He wrote weekly about his experiences. If I'm not mistaken, it took him a good 3-4 months to deal with his banking, and his phone set up was also an ordeal. His experience mirrored yours to a good degree.

The good news, though, is that by the end of his year, he was functionally bilingual, had many friends, wonderful memories, and an overall great experience. So, if you're able to tough it out, it will surely pay off. He moved back to his English-speaking home, and is now the president of our local Alliance Francais (and I myself have seen him biking about the city wearing a scarf, with a baguette in his bike basket :-) In other words, there's a good chance you might leave France someday, but it won't leave you!

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/la_raconteuse

Your experience sounds utterly challenging but you're gonna pull through! When I visit Montréal I'm usually spoken to in french first and I usually attempt to respond in french. But if I try and it's apparent that my attempts aren't working out, or I look like "a deer in headlights", they switch to english for me. If only that were the case for you! Least I can do is give you lingot for your troubles! Good on you! It's commendable! And I totally think you can do this!!!

bonne chance!

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Muzorewi1984

It's interesting because I get the impression quite a few people here do speak English reasonably well - probably better than I speak French. But they don't really like speaking English (except for people in a job geared towards tourists) and as soon as they find out you speak any French at all they will communicate only in French, even if that means a slow and fairly painful conversation. Well, I am in their country I suppose!

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/digitalpointer

I wish I could remember where I read this, but I did read something that said that basically, a lot of French people have pretty good English skills, but they've had such an unpleasant experience with it in school, and were made to feel that they spoke English horribly, so they're acutely uncomfortable when asked to speak it.

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/panagiotis_ts

Most French speak excellent English,they start learning English at the nursery school,at the age of 6 and after finishing high school,they are usually level B1-B2,but they hate English.I have visited Strasbourg (fortunately I spoke French),and I met several people working even in the tourism industry and they were imitating that they don't speak English,while they were fluent (at least most of them).

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/nati.ras

Hi! So nice to heard that you moved to Paris! I went as Erasmus Monde in Paris for 6 months, almost 3 years ago and even though I am a Spanish speaker and "It should be easier for us" it was a completely nightmare for me. Most of the parisien that speak English are very shy... but my advice is to encourage them to do tandem with you, and maybe someone can help you out with the bank papers, a task that for me was very different and difficult! :)

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/kayleeemi

You should watch this great YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-ZFVrf5NVlmgZ0hItLT0pg - Maybe it would help?

September 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Candace0

Congratulations! I can understand the problem with hearing and speaking French. Although I am in the US, there is a church that has a French speaking service in my area that I visited several months ago. I could make out maybe a good third or more of the handout. And maybe infer about a half of it total. But it wasn't until practically the end of the service that I understand one complete sentence of what people were saying. I understood words here and there, but it was too fast to get a sense of what was being said. I think I gave myself away as not knowing French during the part of the service where people greet each other because they were all using the same greeting. I'm not sure what I improvised. One person looked at me curiously. But as people have said, it will get easier for you.

September 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Next time, you may try "la paix soit avec vous" (peace be with you). You won't be ridiculous, believe me!

September 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Jessbella40

Congratulations on your move, interesting read, I can relate, I lived in Quebec/Canada for four years and it was difficult to understand everything said, especially when they spoke fast! With time and more practice, communication is better. I try to practice with friends from France and Quebec. French channels help tremendously too. I wish you success on your journey.

September 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sabine_Fay

I also have a simular experience. It is extremely tiring at first, but it does gets easier quickly (in my case). Maybe you could try to stop asking people if they speak English, explain that your French is not great and try your best in French. Mix in English words here and there if you have to, big chance that they will understand fine. Good luck and enjoy this amazing country!

September 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Archaeopterix

I think you have made it hard on yourself by being in Paris. :) I have heard even other native speakers talk about how fast people in Paris talk. And from what I've heard, people in Paris are the least likely to give you any slack on your attempt to speak French.

I spent some time a couple years ago in the French-speaking part of Belgium. This was pre-Duolingo, I was studying Fluenz lessons every night on my computer, carrying around a phrasebook, and asking my bi-lingual colleagues to explain things. I didn't have to deal with banks, but I did have to deal with the landlord. I didn't have too bad a time, people seemed pretty willing to meet me halfway.

So, you're doing French immersion on the hardest setting. I wish you the best of luck on your adventure!

September 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/OllieCass

Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm sure it will get easier as you go on. :)

September 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/BalqeesKhalifa

Bon courage !! and update us :)

September 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/michiness

Bonne chance! You're doing great, going out there and getting stuff done! Keep that confidence up :) I know it's hard, and it's frustrating, and there will be times that you'll kill just to have a conversation in English. (At least for you, home is just across the Channel!)

Give it about a twp months. I studied in Bordeaux in the south for a while, and despite that I had studied French for four years in school beforehand, getting there I had no clue what anyone was actually saying. It took me about a month or two before things finally clicked.

Also remember that Parisians tend to be a little aloof towards non-native speakers, especially those who are in the beginning stages, but I think both you getting practice and all the tourists slowly oozing out of the city will help.

Bravo encore :)

September 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ndaulton

Have you ever seen the book "French or Foe" by Polly Platt? It is and EXCELLENT overview of the French Culture for those coming to live there.

"(about French stereo types being wrong) ...says Polly Platt, author of French or Foe?; "The French are generous, exhilarating friends," but they are different--wonderfully so. The trick to getting along in France is understanding the culture and learning to accept it on French terms instead of your own. Though the book is designed primarily for people who will be living or working in France for extended periods, the lessons Platt teaches about manners, attitudes, and culture are invaluable for even those visitors just passing through.

Here is a link for ordering on Amazon.fr

http://www.amazon.fr/French-Foe-Getting-Visiting-Working/dp/0964668408/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1410149130&sr=8-1&keywords=French+or+Foe%3F

I would also highly recommend the sequel "Savoir-Flair: 211 Tips for Enjoying France and the French"

http://www.amazon.fr/Savoir-Flair-Tips-Enjoying-France-French/dp/0964668416/ref=pd_sim_eb_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0N3ZVK4KANAQJEN4E79J

Bon Chance!

September 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/maltu
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I wish you every success, it is bound to be exhausting, a new home/country/job/social life would be more than enough without tossing a language change into the mix. I enjoy the David Sedaris recording of "me talk pretty one day" especially his description of the students trying to describe Easter to a Moroccan student, which he has translated into wayward English, although it would have actually been in French. I think you will be making very rapid progress, but it will still be one word at a time, and you need to give yourself time to relax.

September 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/SarahGoode_

i just moved to paris too from england and i'm in love with it so far!

September 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/bsdfhsduiyt

great job people

September 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/onidia1

that is the best way to learn the language. don't be afraid to make mistakes that is the way you learn any ways

September 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Maria123Vargaz

Muzorewi1984, I just stumbled on this very interesting and informative thread, I know it's old, but I was wondering if you are still in France and how things are going for you. Best wishes on all your endeavors!

August 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas.Heiss

Hi Muzorewi,

found your older thread searching around with the "Fluenz" keyword.

Thanks for writing about your real life challenge - it was very interesting to read what you were experiencing personally!

Just wanted to step by and say "Hello".

Are you still living in France? How is your teaching and life going?
How has your French improved the last three years?


I am miles away learning French and I did not pick up DigitalPublishing (DP) French 1.

I have still hopes to finally be able to learn French in the next 3-5 years...maybe with DP which is lying around here since 2008....but first I would want to get a good basis from DuoLingo, Memrise, Mondly, uTalk,....

Take care!

With best regards from Germany

Thomas

March 11, 2018
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